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4 healthy habits to boost your immunity

Your immune system hums with activity. Cells, tissues, and organs work together all through your body to coordinate attacks against invading pathogens. You can help to keep this system running smoothly and efficiently when responding to threats.

Give your immune system some quiet time to do its work. Ever wonder why doctors always advise rest, rest, and more rest when you're ailing? It's because immunity and sleep are intricately linked. When you don't get enough sleep, you become more vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold. Most adults should aim to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night, or 7 to 8 hours nightly for those above 65.

Give your immune system a workout. Doesn't exercise seem to be the prescription for just about every health problem these days? Your immune system certainly improves with physical activity, which can lead to a variety of benefits. Studies have shown that doing moderately intense exercises like gardening or brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes at least 3 times a week may help to reduce illness severity and the number of days with symptoms. Be careful not to overdo it and to ease into a new routine gradually.

Indulge your immune system with relaxation. A positive attitude and a proactive approach to dealing with stress can protect you more than you might think! People with chronic high stress levels are more vulnerable to infection.

Find ways to help manage your stress, like: starting a new yoga routine, meditating on a regular basis, or finding a hobby that is both relaxing and enjoyable.

Help out with good hygiene habits. Your body has lots of ways to keep out offending bacteria and viruses. Take your nose, for instance. The hairs lining the insides of your nostrils act as barriers to airborne invaders you might inhale. You can help your nose do its job by using a nasal rinse to flush out trapped bacteria. Your skin also serves as a barrier against germs. However, touching your eyes, nose or mouth can allow these microbes to infiltrate and cause infections. Maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

You should protect other people's immune systems, too. Remember: A sneeze can travel through the air at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. A cough may be a bit slower, but either way, you need to shield your mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. If it all happens too fast and you make it to your hand, be sure to repeat the lather-and-rinse routine!

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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